Utilitarianism and WoW LFR
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 10 July 2013, 3:21 am
Utilitarianism is a philosophy that says that something is good if it causes "the greatest happiness of the greatest number" of people. I had to think about that when I read Rohan's complaint about Ghostcrawler's remarks on LFR. Ghostcrawler is saying that "Most of the players doing LFR just didn't raid at all before. They were never really eligible for recruitment.". Rohan says that even if this is true, LFR could still be hurting "real" raids.
To see this, imagine a population of 100 players. Before LFR, 20 of them participate in regular raids. We'll call these 20 players Raiders, and the other 80 players Casuals. Then LFR comes out. 10 Raiders switch to LFR, along with 30 Casuals. So the following statements are both true: 1) LFR has significantly damaged normal raiding. Normal raiding lost 50% (10 of 20) of its players. 2) The majority of people in LFR didn't raid before. 75% of raiders in LFR (30 of 40) didn't raid before.
Now I find it completely believable that Rohan's numbers might be not so far off reality. But what does that tell us about LFR if we look at it from the point of Utilitarianism? It tells us that LFR is a good idea. LFR causes the greatest happiness of the greatest number of WoW players. We go from 20% of players being able to raid to 50% of players being able to raid. That is certainly maximizing happiness of the 30% of players previously unable to participate in the end game. And the 10% that switched from regular raids to LFR also did so as a matter of free choice, thus LFR provides more utility for them than regular raids. Only 10% of people could possibly be said to be somewhat worse off, having more trouble to organize regular raids. But they aren't prevented from raiding, they just need to change organization.

Any game in which the most desirable part is made exclusive for a minority of players is bad from this philosophy's point of view. Utilitarianism tells us that more equality is better overall, even if it obviously is considered a loss by the minority of elitists who lost their special status. All that hogwash that the elitists tell about players needing somebody to look up to is just self-serving bullshit. Nobody needs a goal that he is unable to reach.
Tobold's Blog

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